Top 2 ways to give corporations #donorlove

 

You have heard it before: treat the company the same as you do an individual donor, and then BANG! you have a successful proposal, ask, and stewardship plan.

In my previous post, 3 things I learned at the #DonorLove Rendezvous, I said I “apply #donorlove principles to the main contact at my corporate partners”. So you are thinking, even better, I will grab my #donorlove stewardship plan and be done, RIGHT?

No!

To do corporate stewardship right, you need to think about two key parts.

You need to think person, your main contact, and company, where the money is actually coming from.

What do I mean?

Stewardship Plan Part 1 – Your Contact

When planning your stewardship for a corporate contact, be sure to think about the individual, what they need to be successful and how to address them personally.

This could include the standard holiday cards, and thank you notes, but if you are really on top of it, you could also include links to articles that will help them be more effective in their jobs. What about letting them know about a conference or speaking engagement you think will support them in building their personal brand? A few times I have even filled out applications for internal employee awards.

On the easy end, I always think about what a convenient time and location might be for our meetings. Sometimes picking a 3pm in the right location gives them a shorter day, or a break from a space with no windows!

Stewardship Plan Part 2 – Company

For the company, depending on the partnership, you need to be thinking about stewarding publicly – this includes the general public, their target audiences or their employees.

It is expensive and sometimes it is still nice to do the big newspaper thank you and traditional press release. But more affordable is digital PR, think social media “Thank You’s” and blog posts that articulate impact.

If the target is internal/employees, prepare an email for your donor to forward internally. Attach a simple photo of a success story at your charity. Highlight the impact of the company donation. MAKE IT EASY!!!

You start the process!

Don’t ask a whole bunch of questions about how they would like you to say thank you. Write a grateful, appreciative, brief email that is meant to be forwarded – they will either forward it, or they will tell you how it needs to be modified for use. But start with doing it, not asking questions.

At the root, stewardship of any person or group is always based on thinking about them. With corporate partners, it is just important to remember that “them” could be a very large employee group with different objectives.

So, back to the beginning, it is about applying #donorlove in that you say thank you, you make them the hero, you show impact… you just do it with two different donors in mind.

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Written by Heather Nelson

heatherstripesHeather is an experienced and passionate fundraising professional specializing in non-profit and corporate partnerships.

Connect with Heather via:
Twitter | LinkedIn

Guest Post: How I Sold a Sponsor in a Single Call

How I sold a sponsor in a single call

This blog is a response to the blog: “How I Was Sold By a Fundraiser In a Single Phone Call” – which is definitely worth reading.

Event sponsorships are not my favourite thing.

In fact, I really dislike them. Set “Gold, Silver, Bronze” levels – all based on how much money the charity needs – the exact opposite of #DonorLove if you ask me.

So I do sponsorship a little differently. Every sponsorship proposal I create is unique and custom for the company. And it works. Here’s what sponsor WeDidIt had to say of their experience:

This approach to corporate giving is refreshing and effective! 

Rather than approach me with the run-of-the mill ‘sponsor levels’ sales pitch (you know the ones: platinum, gold, silver, blah blah blah), Rory did something blissfully simple and effective. She: 

  • asked questions about our business goals and listened. 
  • used those goals to build a compelling sponsorship proposal that was a no-brainer to fund!

Rather than be stuck with our logo in a booklet that no one would look at, we ended up more than tripling our original goals for the sponsorship and forming some valuable partnerships along the way.

I wish all charities knew how to fund-raise like this!

-Andrew Littlefield, We Did It  (A Sponsor of The #DonorLove Rendezvous)

Don’t you want all of your corporate donors to feel like that? They can! Here’s how:

STEP 1: Get to know THEM: The first step is to really learn about the company you want to work with. Go on their website, read how they talk about themselves. What services are they selling? What language do they use? Watch some commercials and look at some advertisements for the company and really get a sense of their brand.

When you have your discovery meetings, ask lots of questions – and listen really well. Don’t run through a sales pitch before you’ve really gotten to know the company. Key things I need to know about a potential corporate donor are:

  • What are their biggest challenges today? What do they think they will be tomorrow?
  • What are their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals and objectives?
  • What have they liked about past non-profit partnerships? What has worked well? What hasn’t?
  • What makes their company unique? Why do their customers choose them over their competitors?

STEP 2: Look for Return on Investment (ROI): Once you understand a company, look for areas where your goals and objectives overlap – and build partnerships based on those shared values, beliefs and objectives. Find creative ways to add value to a company through your partnership, by: helping them find new customers, engage employees, build a stronger brand – or more. Always keep in mind what is the ROI for the company you are working with – not just what’s in it for you. A partnership with the right charity can add value for the company by:

  • Helping them find new customers: 94% of people would switch from one brand to another if it was associated with a good cause
  • Engaging and retaining employees: 70% of people say making a difference in a good cause is a factor in where they choose to work
  • Building brand: associating a company with a good cause can improve their reputation and regard in the marketplace

STEP 3: Make a donor-focused pitch: In your proposal, talk about THEM. Restate what you’ve learned about their CSR objectives and business needs, and clearly explain how the program you’ve identified matches their interests and helps THEM achieve their business objectives. Too often charities make pitches based on their cause and their organization. Focus more on the opportunity of the partnership – and less on your need for money.

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Want to learn more? Be sure to check out the next #DonorLove webinar: Better Corporate Giving (…that raises MORE money & your sponsors will LOVE)

Tuesday October 13, 2015
1:00 pm Eastern (10:00 am Pacific) + Recording available October 14th – $24.99 CAD

Do you want your corporate donors to LOVE the proposals you prepare for them?

More importantly, do you want your corporate asks to be successful?!

If you want to learn how to create better – more successful – more profitable corporate proposals then sign up for this webinar today! Only $24.99 CAD!

Drawing from her experience in major and corporate giving Rory Green will look at how charities can do a better job of corporate fundraising – and how to engage in deeper, more meaningful, more PROFITABLE corporate partnerships.

This webinar will use real life case studies, and give you the practical information you need to improve your corporate fundraising efforts!

You will learn:

  • How to identify the RIGHT companies to build a relationship with
  • Rory’s list of questions you NEED to ask before you write a proposal
  • Creative ways to offer Return on Investment that Corporate Partners will LOVE
  • How to tap into budgets beyond Community Engagement to unlock MAXIMUM investment
  • Step by step instructions on how to structure a SUCCESSFUL corporate ask

Sign up NOW and you will also get a REAL LIFE corporate proposal that got a “yes” in a day!

Trust us, you do NOT miss this webinar. Sign up now – seats are limited!

Can’t make the webinar live? No problem! Sign up now and receive a recording after the webinar is over, to watch whenever you like!

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Parts of this blog were originally published on Phil’s Career Blog

Written by Rory Green

rory

 

Rory is a Senior Development Officer by day, and FundraiserGrrl by night. As a major gifts fundraiser, she connects donors with an opportunity to invest in a better future. FundraiserGrrrl is a blog about her cheeky observations about life in fundraising.

Connect with Rory via:
Twitter

 

 

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**SPONSORED POST** Email maeve@whatgivesphilanthropy.com for more information about advertising on www.whatgivesphilanthropy.com.

Guest Post: Disarming Yourself in Corporate Fundraising – Part 2: HOW?

Disarming yourself in corporate fundraising (3)

Do you remember where we left off last week? I was telling you about my mentor who had a 70% close rate on all of her sponsorship proposals, so early in my career I sat down with her to learn about good sponsorship packages and what they entailed. After asking all about word count, design, spacing, and more, she said to me: “You still haven’t asked me a thing about good sponsorship packages.”

My mentor went on to tell me that to her, the package was incidental – a pure formality. She never submits a proposal of any kind without her prospect’s explicit approval and permission to do so. Because she worked with the person and built trust, the proposal was used only to justify the expense to the finance department, or to champion internally, and never contained any filler.

The Conclusion

Let’s skip right to it! When you meet your prospects for the first time, I challenge you to bring absolutely nothing with you at all! Not even a pen and paper or iPad? Nope! I challenge you to have a real conversation with a real person all about them, and then use your memory to recall important facts.

Warning: This will feel uncomfortable at first (and forever), your boss will think you’re crazy, and your prospects will too… and this is a good thing.

If a prospect asks you for a package, instead ask them for a five-minute phone call or a 15-minute cup of coffee to get a better sense of their needs before you submit something.

In other words, tell your prospect “no!” and get a sense as to what they like to fund, their target demographic and their sponsorship goals. If your event, program or charity doesn’t fit those goals, don’t submit a proposal! If your prospect doesn’t have five minutes for a call, they aren’t going to spend 20 minutes reading your proposal and they aren’t really a prospect and you should move on.

I can feel you squirming at the thought of this… wait until you try it! Am I really saying not to shotgun blast your proposals to every company you can think of and that when they ask you to give them a proposal that you say no? That’s exactly what I’m saying!

How can I commit to such sacrilege? Simple. When you blindly send out proposals you are using a direct mail strategy, and direct mail gets a 2% response rate, if you’re lucky. If you need 20 sponsors for an event then you need to send out 2000 proposals! Now think of the last time you got your anchor major donor from a direct mail campaign. Pretty rare right? Chances are you won’t get your title sponsors from a direct mail campaign either!

People buy from People, not Proposals

The closest thing I see to custom proposals is the inclusion of a statement like this at the bottom of the package: “We also do custom packages so let us know if you want to have a conversation.” This puts the responsibility on the prospect to figure out that you can help them reach their goals, which is never a good thing. It also assumes that people read your entire package, which is not a safe assumption.

Let’s do Some A/B Testing!

Don’t take my word for it; try it for yourself! Instead of jumping in with both feet, segment your prospects and set aside 10% of your list to use this approach with. Do a biweekly checking to compare success rate, average sponsorship dollars and “sponsorship per hour invested” and see which method is right for you and your organization.

I think you’ll like what you start seeing.

What works for you with corporate fundraising? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Happy corporate fundraising!

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Written by Chris Baylis

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Chris is a fundraising professional with expertise in cause marketing, sponsorship and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Chris has managed both national and local campaigns and is a board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in Ottawa.

Connect with Chris via:
The Sponsorship Collective | Twitter | LinkedIn

Guest Post: Disarming Yourself in Corporate Fundraising – Part 1: WHY?

Disarming yourself in corporate fundraising (2)

Maeve and I talked a lot about the commonalities between corporate fundraising and individual giving and so while this two-part series has a corporate fundraiser in mind, I bet that the major gift fundraiser in each of us will enjoy it too.

These two posts are all about the biggest psychological crutch that we use in corporate fundraising. For those of you who follow my blog at The Sponsorship Collective, you know that I believe passionately in a relationship-based approach to corporate fundraising and how using a sponsorship package is a barrier to those relationships. I would (and often do) argue that the sponsorship package is a barrier to good fundraising, so let’s explore why people use proposals, one-pagers, leave-behinds and any other name used to describe the opposite of going to a sponsor visit with nothing in hand.

The Art of Deliberate Distraction

Think about the last time you handed someone a proposal, what did they do? They turned their attention away from you to the package in front of them and you probably tried to talk to them while they did it. Guess what? They absorbed nothing from your proposal or from what you told them and the second you walked out the door, they recycled what you gave them.

So you drove, flew, walked all the way to meet your prospect to hand them something you could have e-mailed them? If someone agreed to meet you in person, it’s because they see value in human interaction and want to know who they are considering working with. So why is it that virtually every fundraiser I know brings proposals and one-pagers with them to prospecting meetings? I think something deeper is happening here. I think that we believe if a prospect is reading a proposal and judging it, they aren’t judging us and saying no to us. The proposal then, is not a sales tool but a subtle self-protection tool!

If that’s true then that means going to a meeting with nothing in hand forces your prospect to judge you as a person, and you have to describe to them what you want from them. By going with nothing in hand you change the dynamic and make it about people and about relationships. Sound scary? Good! Use that to keep you sharp and make sure you know your stuff!

Sometimes Sponsors Ask for One!

Armchair psychology lesson number two is that “send me a proposal” is code for “no thank you!” Just as you giving them a proposal means that they aren’t rejecting you personally, getting you to send them a proposal means that they can tell you any of the following without guilt:

  • I shared it with the team and they declined
  • We have already spent our CSR/sponsorship/community investment dollars this fiscal
  • We have moved away from gala/event/program sponsorship
  • I will let you know if I/we have interest

The proposal is a crutch for both sides of the partnership – the fundraiser feels protected and so does the prospect.

When I first started in fundraising I had a mentor who boasted a 70% close rate on all of her proposals. I sat down with her for two hours one day and asked her questions about her approach. All of my questions were about word count, design, spacing, call to action, levels and all of the things that make up a “good” sponsorship package. After two hours I thanked my mentor for her time and got up to leave, at which point she said, “You still haven’t asked me a thing about good sponsorship packages.”

Do you want to find out what she told me, and what I’ve learned in my own work? Tune in next week for Part 2: HOW? You know why us corporate fundraisers need to disarm ourselves, so wait a week and I’ll show you how we do it.

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Written by Chris Baylis

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Chris is a fundraising professional with expertise in cause marketing, sponsorship and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Chris has managed both national and local campaigns and is a board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in Ottawa.

Connect with Chris via:
The Sponsorship Collective | Twitter | LinkedIn